Basically, a home wireless network consists of an Internet access point, such as a cable from your Internet Service Provider, and a wireless router connected to multiple devices. Often, if a network is up and running, we are provided with a false sense of security simply because it works effectively.
Our network is the gateway to Internet access for most of our smart devices and the often personal and sensitive information and data we access. Consequently, it is one of the most important devices in our home, but may expose us to attacks by cybercriminals. In the age of data breaches and many other online threats, we should be concerned about the security of our home network and take the necessary precautions to protect it against malicious malware and ransomware.
Setting-up a password is not adequate to stop an online criminal to launch malevolent Man-in-the-Middle attacks, network sniffing or data theft. In computer security, a man-in-the-middle attack (MITM) is an attack where the attacker secretly relays and possibly alters the communications between two parties who believe that they are directly communicating with each other.
Learning how to secure your wireless home may be tedious, but indispensable. Consider the following steps to better secure your home network and decrease the chances of getting your valuable data compromised.
- Change the name of your default home network
Change the default name of your Wi-Fi network, also known as the SSID (Service Set Identifier). In this way, it is harder for malicious attackers to know what type of router you have. By knowing the manufacturer’s name of your router, cybercriminals can determine the vulnerabilities of the router model and then try to exploit it.
- Set a strong and unique password
Needed for the initial installation and connection, every wireless router has a default username and password which you have to change as soon as possible. A good wireless password should be at least 20 characters long and include numbers, letters, and various symbols.
- Activate network encryption
Encryption languages include WEP, WPA or WPA2. Wi-Fi Protected Access 2 (WPA2) is both a security protocol and a current standard in the industry. It also replaces the older and less secure Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) and is an upgrade of the original Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) technology.
- Turn off your wireless home network when you’re not at home
By disabling your wireless home network and Ethernet cables during lengthy periods of non-use you will prevent malicious hackers attempting to gain access. Disabling your router will also protect your device against electrical surges.
- Consider the location of your router
Where your Wi-Fi is placed in your home may also impact your security. If your wireless signal range reaches too widely outside your home, it can be easily intercepted by malicious persons. Do not place your wireless router close to a window where there is nothing to block the signal going outside your home.
- Use a strong network administrator password
Most Wi-fi routers come with default credentials such as ‘admin’ and ‘password’, making it accessible to hackers.
- Change your default IP address on the Wireless router
Change the default IP address to a less common to better secure your home network and make it more difficult for hackers to track it.
- Turn off the DHCP functionality on the router
Turn off the Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) server to enhance the wireless network security. This means that a static IP address that is suitable to your router should be entered into your network settings.
- Disable Remote Access
If your router allows access even from remote systems and not only from a connected device, turn it off to prevent malicious actors to access your router’s privacy settings from a device not connected to your wireless network.
- Always keep your router’s software up-to-date
Updated software is an essential part of your wireless network security. By not updating a router’s firmware vulnerabilities can be exploited by hackers.
- A firewall can help secure your Wi-fi network
Most of the best wireless routers have a built-in firewall that should protect your network from potential cyber-attacks and adds one extra layer of security. You can install a good firewall device to your router if your router doesn’t have one.
- Enhance protection for the devices most frequently connected to your home network
Always keep your devices up to date with the most recent software available and apply the latest security patches. Make sure that your devices have antivirus security software installed. Use multiple security layers consisting of specialised security software such as updated antivirus programs and traffic filtering software. You may also consider using an antimalware software program.
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